I own couple of medium sized off licence shops in a town centre, and for the last few months things have been really tight with the business. Along with increasing rent costs, we have found that shrinkage has increased notably, with the cash totals not matching up at all with the inventory reports. Naturally, we have cameras prominently installed across the shop to deter shoplifters, and these have not captured anything beyond the occasional drunken idiot trying to swipe a bottle. The only thing we can think of is that some of the staff have fingers in the till. It’s not nice to think about, as they’ve been with the company for a few years, but it’s got to the point where we think we need a specific way of monitoring this. What’s the best way of doing this with CCTV?
The cost of employee theft
It’s never a pleasant situation when you suspect that people who you pay and work with might be stealing from your business. The unfortunate reality is, however, that theft from staff members accounts for almost 30% of shrinkage for UK retail businesses, and it can be much, much trickier to protect yourself from. Employees will usually have in-depth knowledge of cash handling procedures and camera positions – insider knowledge that shoplifters could only dream of. It’s also a problem that, if left unchecked, can easily escalate from a few handfuls of change here and there, to large scale quantities and valuable stock. But the question is – if cameras by themselves aren’t catching the culprit, what’s the best way of catching these people out?
Hikvision PoS Integration
With their new DeepinMind series of NVRs, Hikvision have added full integration with PoS systems. This lets you easily connect your till system to your CCTV recorder, and adds an overlay of transaction information over the top of the video footage. By situating one of the cameras so it directly views the till, this provides a quick and easy way of comparing transaction information with the actual actions of the staff member putting through the sale. For example, if the employee rings through an expensive bottle of spirits as a cheap item such as a pack of crisps, you will immediately have incontrovertible, time stamped proof that you can present them with.
The integration requires some simple configuration, including setting which camera should have the overlay, and the connection type for the till system. The recorder can communicate using RS-232 and TCP, as well as multiple types of PoS protocol (including Universal, Epson and AVE), providing wide compatibility.
Alarms and Triggers
Of course, as any business owner with a large CCTV can tell you, just because you have it covered by a camera doesn’t mean that you find out about it. In fact, the more cameras you have, the harder it can be to locate an important event happening on the timeline. This is where Hikvision’s smart analytics really come into their own. When combined with their iVMS-5200 professional video management software, you can set up a wide range of automated alerts. When triggered, these can either send a notification, or add a marker to the footage for later review. The PoS integration adds a whole new range of alerts that can be configured:
- Customer not present: Alerts you if a transaction is put through the till without a customer present. You can easily select an area of the image to look for customers
- Total transaction value: Triggers an alert if the total value of the items in a transaction are above or below preset levels
- Change value: Triggers if the value of the change for a customer is above a preset amount
- Refund without sale: Alerts if a refund is taken out of the till without an accompanying sale
- Transaction outside of business hours: Triggers if a transaction is put through the till when the shop should be empty
- Cash drawer left open: Set a maximum time for the cash drawer to be left open before an alert is triggered
All of these modes are fully adjustable, so you can easily fine tune the automations for your own scenario.
Self Checkout Solutions
Of course, all of these features aren’t just for monitoring staff. With self checkouts becoming an increasingly common sight even in smaller retail businesses, this PoS integration is a perfect way to help prevent loss. After rolling out self checkouts across all of their shops, Sainsbury’s found that their sales of “loose carrots” had skyrocketed – so much so that they had far more than they actually stocked. Now they are using a similar integrated CCTV system to make sure transactions actually match what’s in the customer’s baskets, and to provide security staff with immediate evidence should they need to confront a customer. It’s a perfect example of how smart tech solutions are an investment to help your business grow.